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    A review of the mechanisms of by-product PCB formation in pigments, dyes and paints

    Hannah, Tyler J, Megson, David ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8881-3860 and Sandau, Courtney D (2022) A review of the mechanisms of by-product PCB formation in pigments, dyes and paints. Science of the Total Environment, 852. p. 158529. ISSN 0048-9697

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    Abstract

    There has been an increased awareness of paints and pigments as a source of by-product PCBs in the environment. The majority of existing work has focused only on reporting the presence of the main PCBs in different products with a specific focus on the most PCB congeners, PCB11 and PCB209. This gives the impression that only a handful of PCBs are found in paints. However, this is not the case. PCB profiles in paints and pigments can be just as complex as commercial technical mixtures. This review identified the presence of 149 different PCBs in paint samples. For reference, only 141 different PCBs have been reported in all of the 5 main commercial Aroclor formulations (A1016, A1242, A1248, A1254 (early & late) and A1260). The total PCB concentrations in some paint samples can be substantial, with concentrations as high as 919 mg kg−1 reported in azo pigments. When trying to identify sources of PCBs in the environment, pigments, dyes and paints are often overlooked. In this manuscript, we have compiled congener profiles from 140 different samples from the available scientific literature and presented this in the supplementary information as valuable resource for others to use in source identification applications. We have also proposed detailed mechanisms for the formation of PCBs in pigments, dyes and paints. In many cases, the PCB congeners predicted by these mechanisms provide an excellent match for what has been observed in the scientific literature. We have also identified several additional classes of pigments that are expected to contain PCBs but have yet to be verified by experimental data.

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